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Syringa vulgaris
Syringa vulgaris

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Zone
Zones A1-A3, 1-11, 14, 18-22, 32-45
Full SunPartial Sun
Full, Partial
Regular Water
Moderate

Syringa vulgaris

Common Lilac
Oleaceae
Deciduous, Shrubs

From eastern Europe. Can eventually reach 20 ft. tall, with nearly equal spread. Suckers strongly; prune out suckers on grafted plants (no need to do so on own-root plants). Leaves are roundish oval with pointed tips. Needs 2 to 5 years to bear flowers of full size and true color. Pinkish or bluish lavender flowers in clusters to 10 in. or longer (‘Alba’ has pure white flowers) in midspring. Fragrance is legendary; lilac fanciers say the species and its older varieties are more fragrant than newer types. Superb cut flowers.

Varieties, often called French hybrids, number in the hundreds. They generally flower a little later than the species and have larger clusters of single or double flowers in a wide range of colors. Singles are often as showy as doubles, sometimes more so.

Descanso hybrids, developed for mild winters, excel in Zones 18–22. Try ‘Lavender Lady’ (best known), ‘Blue Skies’ and ‘Blue Boy’ (both blue), ‘California Rose’ (single pink), ‘Chiffon’ (lavender), ‘Forrest K. Smith’ (light lavender), ‘Sylvan Beauty’ (rose-lavender), and ‘White Angel’ (‘Angel White’).

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